Continuing Education is Key
An educated staff is a productive staff. More than that, an educated staff bolsters your club’s image and credibility, lowers your club’s liabilities and justifies higher premiums and fees — which makes everyone more profitable.
Keeping your staff educated on the right topics with the correct certifications from the best organizations can be a challenge simply due to the sheer number of options. However, because the fitness world is based on science — biomechanics, physiology and kinesiology — education is vital to stay abreast of trends, changes and improvements to our overall knowledge base.
Where to Begin?
There are plenty of opportunities to earn continuing education credits (CECs). Some of the more prevalent accreditations are from ACE Fitness, ACSM, NASM, IDEA, AFAA and the NSCA.
These offer everything from general training to advanced fitness instructor certifications, so you have plenty of options. In addition, these organizations offer workshops, online courses, short course studies and specialty certifications. Whatever training you want, you can find.
Continuing with the CECs
Once your staff gets certified, they need to remain certified, usually by earning a set amount of credits every year or two.
It’s important to understand that this is not a one-time process. You need to invest in continual education in order to maintain the certification and to be informed about any new best practices, research or anything else that might have changed as we learn more about exercises, the body and overall function.
Maintaining Your Status
With the busy schedule that your staff maintains — training your members, leading group exercise classes and being available on the club floor for help — it might seem tough to carve out time to encourage your staff to get trained. But there are options to help you make it a natural part of your workday.
Host a course or workshop at your club: Most organizations offering CECs can come to you (maybe even at a discounted group fee) so that you can educate your entire staff on the topics you want them to learn. Schedule it on your time to minimize the impact on your members’ workout experience.
Create an incentive program for your staff: Encourage your staff to want to be trained for their own benefit. Reimburse them for travel to a workshop or host a contest where they can earn access to a workshop of their choice.
Host an in-house fitness education course: Conduct a regularly scheduled roundtable to discuss current trends, new training techniques or other topics of interest and relevance. When new equipment is installed, schedule time to learn the proper training techniques on the new equipment.
As a club manager, you need to be leading the charge and demonstrating how important continuing education is. It’s a priority for you, for your staff and for the safety of your members.
Once prioritizing education becomes part of your club’s culture, it will create a safer, more productive and ultimately more profitable work environment for all.
By Sonja Friend-Uhl
Sonja Friend-Uhl is a lead master trainer for Star Trac and certified personal trainer. She is also a successful club operator and businesswoman, having developed and coached fitness and personal training programs while serving as the athletic director for The Athletic Club at Weston and The Athletic Club Boca Raton. She can be reached at 877.782.7872 or firstname.lastname@example.org.